Business Visions Honors Area's Top Individuals


 business visions

Entrepreneurs of the Year - Leaders from Alamac American Knits of Lumberton accept awards at the Business Visions banquet. From left: Robert Hester, vice president for finance, Doris Sampson, VP for planning, Mark Cabral, president and Henry Griffin, VP for manufacturing.

Mark Cabral, president of Alamac American Knits of Lumberton, accepted the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 6th annual Business Visions awards banquet.

The company re-opened the Lumberton textile company that now employs 330.

A Pembroke pharmacist who built a medical supply and home healthcare business with nearly 400 employees was named Business Person of the Year at the 6th annual Business Visions awards dinner.

Howard Brooks and HealthKeeperz were honored April 30 at a banquet that is hosted by UNC Pembroke's Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development and the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). Corporate sponsors were BB&T, Acme Electric, CP&L, Southeastern Regional Medical Center and Lumbee River Electric Membership.

The Spirit of Unity Award went to Robeson Community College President Fred Williams. Mr. Williams, who is retiring this year, guided the college through rapid enrollment expansion and troubles, including a yearlong probation by the Southern Association of Colleges (SACS).

UNC Pembroke's top business students were also honored. Kelley Iverson, who serves as assistant women's soccer coach for UNCP, was named top student in the Master of Public Management program.

John Bullard was named the outstanding student in the Master's of Business Administration program. He is a Laurinburg banker, employed by Lumbee Guaranty Bank.

Sabrina Pickens of Pembroke was named outstanding undergraduate business student.

UNCP Chancellor Allen C. Meadors praised the collaborative efforts between business, community and higher education.

"With the Regional Center, the Small Business Center and our growing investment in COMtech industry and technology park, our university is reaching out in many ways to its surrounding community," Chancellor Meadors said. "By 2007, the university will spend $80 million in construction, making us a growth industry and a partner in the economic development of the region."

Mr. Brooks, whose company was called one of the fastest growing businesses in Robeson County, said he remains focused on the benefits his business provides.

"What it's about is creating the resources that create income for our employees and create positive outcomes for the people we serve," Mr. Brooks said. "We see between 5-600 patients every day."

Alamac's President Cabral said the resurrection of his company was a community effort.

"We were not certain we could make this work, but we knew we had the ability to make this a successful venture," Mr. Cabral said. "Greg (Taylor of the SBTDC) and many others were very important to our effort. We had a lot of support."

RCC's Fred Williams said his personal accomplishments are secondary.

"Much more important than the things I have done are the people I've worked with and the lives we have affected over the years," Mr. Williams said. "We must all learn to work as a whole."

Keynote speaker was Dr. Warren Gulko, a professor in the Cameron School of Business at UNC Wilmington. He was former director of the Small Business and Technology Development Center at UNCW.

UNCP's Associate Vice Chancellor for Outreach Richard Bothel, who introduced Dr. Gulko, was host for the evening event at Pine Crest Country Club in Lumberton.